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Recent Case Highlights Dangers of Inadequate Land Registry Applications
In a recent case (Baker v Craggs  EWHC 3250 (Ch), The High Court decided that the grant of a right of way was effective even though the owners of the land had already sold it to a buyer and then accidentally granted a right of way over it in favour of a third party.
The problem arose because the buyer’s application to HM Land Registry to register the transfer into their name was cancelled (due to an inadequate plan) and so the buyer lost its priority. The buyer was then left trying to argue that it had been in actual occupation of the land at the time that the right of way had been granted to the third party and therefore had an overriding interest over and above the interest being asserted by the transfer to the third party. The Court rejected this argument meaning that the buyer had purchased the property subject to the right of way.
The gap between the time a purchase completes and the time it is registered in the name of the buyer is crucial. There are two ways to protect a buyer during this “danger period”. Firstly by making sure that all the “i”s are dotted and “T”s crossed before contracts are exchanged thereby minimising the likelihood of the land registry raising a query about the application and delaying registration. In the facts of the case above, the land registry queried the plan which is an area that frequently results is questions by the Land Registry before they can affect registration. Delay in responding to the land registry can result in the buyer’s application to register their interest being cancelled. Secondly by carrying out a priority search in the name of the buyer (or mortgagee if there’s a mortgage) to ensure no other dealings with the land are registered.
At Parkes Wilshire Johnson, all conveyancing work is carried out by qualified and experienced solicitors who take pride is providing an excellent service to clients wishing to buy or sell. Don’t take a risk with what is likely to be one of the biggest purchases in your lifetime – call us to discuss further and we will be happy to talk you through the process and provide an estimate of costs.